Use of pseudonyms can sometimes create additional issues for authors, so it’s important to be aware of the legal ramifications of pseudonym useRead more
When “Should” Writers Use a Pen Name?*
* Note: This is a re-post of a post that originally appeared in December 2014. I’m out of town at the Left Coast Crime Convention this week (seahorse fans, never fear…my husband stays home to fish-sit), but the question “Should I use a pen name?” seems evergreen, so I’m running this post again. To clarify from the outset: I don’t think there’s a single answer to the question “should I use a pen name?” Use of a pseudonym involves multiple legal, business, and personal issues, and is a question each author needs to answer on his or her own (if appropriate, with the assistanceRead more
Business Structures and Pseudonyms: When Do(n’t) Authors Need Them?
Today’s post comes from the question files: “Do I have to use an LLC or a corporation if I use a pseudonym? Also, do all writers need a corporation (or limited liability company), whether they use a pseudonym or not?” Let’s deal with the second question first. Do writers NEED a corporation or limited liability company? Not always, and never without making sure it will actually help you. Many people incorporate their businesses (meaning, they create a corporation or limited liability company) because they want a shield against personal liability. Unfortunately, corporate structures often don’t protect authors from personal liability the same way they doRead more
Different Genres…Different Names?
Today’s post answers a question I hear a lot: What are the business and legal concerns authors face when using different pseudonyms (or a pseudonym) for writing in different genres? We’ve already looked at the legal issues involved in using a pseudonym (What’s in a [Pen] Name) so today we’ll focus on use of different names (real or fictitious) for works in different genres. As an initial matter, authors can legally use different names (either real or fictitious) for different published works, as long as the use is neither fraudulent nor intended to get around a legal or contractual obligation. In plainer language: you can’t get around limitationsRead more
What’s in a (Pen) Name?
Today’s post picks up where our Christmas Eve series left off: with a discussion of pen names, and when it makes sense to use them. The Christmas Eve post discussed the legal ramifications of pen names. Today, we’re focusing on the business-related issues. Why would an author want to use a pen name? Let’s look at some of the most common reasons, and the business arguments for (and against) a pseudonym: 1. Avoiding “Day Job Conflict.” Many authors have day jobs other than writing. In some cases, the author would rather not deal with conflict or overlap between the “day job” and theRead more
“Negotiating” Use of a Pseudonym
Today’s post takes a look at the issue of pseudonyms, and how to address them in a contract. IT’S LEGAL TO USE A PSEUDONYM, BUT NOT TO ENGAGE IN FRAUD. Authors often use pseudonyms (aka “pen names”) when they can’t or don’t want to use their legal names in connection with their writing. Use of a pseudonym is legal as long as the author doesn’t use it for fraud or tax evasion, or other illegal purposes. When choosing a pseudonym, don’t pick a name that lends itself to fraud or mistaken identity. It’s fine to write as “Stephen King” ifRead more